THE Commission on Appointments on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II despite the opposition of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Aguirre failed to get his confirmation on Feb. 1 after Trillanes blocked it. He then called Trillanes a “son of a bitch,” “gagong senador” [stupid senator] and “sundalong kanin” [useless soldier].
Aguirre again had to face the commission and this time got the support of its members including Senator Loren Legarda, head of the commission’s judicial and bar committee, and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.
“It is thus with honor and privilege that the chairman endorses the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of Vitaliano Napeñas Aguirre II as secretary of the Department of Justice,” Legarda said in the confirmation hearing.
Meanwhile, Aguirre II on Wednesday also said he was 99-percent sure that Senator Leila de Lima would not get killed in jail should she be arrested over the drug charges against her due to her alleged involvement in the illicit drug operations at the New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary.
“I don’t think so. I’m sure 99 percent,” Aguirre said.
On Tuesday, De Lima expressed hope she would not be victim of summary killing as she vowed to continue fighting to prove her innocence.
Trillanes on Wednesday again sought to block Aguirre’s confirmation and filed his opposition with the CA focused on 3 points: Aguirre’s alleged psychological and emotional incapacity, lack of integrity and lack of competence.
He said Aguirre’s appointment would be “inimical to the public interest.”
“This early, even before his confirmation, Mr. Aguirre has publicly displayed his penchant for prosecution and to pin down critics of the administration,” Trillanes said.
He also criticized Aguirre for saying criminals were not members of humanity.
He said those killed as a result of the administration’s war on drugs were deprived of due process.
Aguirre said he had been “misquoted.”
“I categorically deny that I uttered the words attributed to me that drug lords are not human,” he said.
“I did not say that they are not human, but you could not equate these drug pushers as humanity. In other words, these criminals can’t be equated with humanity.”
Senator Francis Pangilinan slammed Aguirre for failing to exercise restraint.
“I think this is a concern for me. When we hold this kind of attitude towards drug addicts as being inhumane and lack of humanity, then we move away from recognizing and acknowledging that there is another dimension to drugs, Pangilinan said.
Legarda defended Aguirre and said some panel members agreed with the justice secretary’s “criminals are not humanity” comment especially when such criminals are convicted of heinous offenses. She also noted Aguirre made the remark out of frustration.
Sotto also took the cudgels for Aguirre.
“You can’t compare them. Humanity is much bigger than those involved in drugs. That is simply my interpretation of the statement,” Sotto said.
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